Fernie belongs on every skiers bucket list. This Canadian Alpine Resort in south east BC, just 45 min. to the US and Alberta border, offers big mountain skiing, a compact ski village, and an historic town – with exceptional scenery and a relaxed pace. Fernie is an Epic Pass partner, and part of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, along with sister resorts Kimberley, Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec.
Fernie quickly becomes a favorite for many skiers. It has tons of terrain (2,500 acres), for all abilities from moderate long groomed runs, and a learning area conveniently near the pleasant mountain village, to extreme chutes off the dramatic peaks up to 7,000’ that encompass five separate high-alpine bowls.
The scenery? Fernie’s massive wall of dramatic soaring peaks encircles the ski resort in a most stunning way. The surrounding Elk Valley is beautiful as well.
Fernie is family friendly, with a cozy ski village at its base, plus a lively downtown – a former miners’ town – just 10 minutes away. Since its 3 hours from Calgary, Fernie doesn’t get busy like ski resorts of Banff or Whistler, its more wholesome and less hurried.
Our Fernie favorite is Falling Star, a 5-kilometer long groomed run wrapping around the eastern boundary of the resort in often-sunny Siberia Bowl. Timber Bowl is a popular hub with several great groomed cruisers and some fun glade runs served by the speedy White Pass Quad. Currie Bowl is next with steeper black diamond trails – chutes and glades – with phenomenal views of the towering Elephant Head and Polar Peak above you.
The Polar Peak chair is where things gets wild, Fernie’s highest lift-served summit at 7,000’ is often rimy, windy, a polar expedition reached by a 5-minute elevator shaft chair up to all expert terrain and one advanced cat track descent.
Lizard Bowl and Cedar Bowl are served by the mid-mountain speedy Great Bear quad. This is a great lift to find long cruisers, Dancer, Bow, Arrow, Bear, and wide open snowfields especially traversing skiers’ right out Cedar Bowl to ungroomed undulating wide-open terrain. The Haul Back T-Bar and Boomerang triple chair bring you back to the central skiing.
Fernie typically grooms about 30% of its 143 trails, not groomers galore, it’s an adventurers’ paradise –with fresh powder which locals dub the “Fernie Factor” when Arctic air and Pacific moisture meet on Lizard Range, and bring light abundant snow.
Fernie is fun with its legends and lore of Griz – the mythical mountain man/beast that shoots his powder keg gun to create snow. Griz is celebrated early season with effigies of burning skis to bring a good winter, and with a spring ski party featuring bed races downtown Fernie.
Lizard Creek Lodge is the place to stay at Fernie – on mountain, ski in ski out, with condo-style lodging plus a stately central Lodge with an outdoor heated pool and hot tubs, and a full-service Spa, ski lockers, a ski shop and overnight tuning. The Lodge offers Fernie’s best dining at Cirque in an elegant setting, big mountain views from the bar, tables, and the cozy fireside couches – a great place to lounge for après ski happy hour. Best of all, you’re a short walk to the ski village, ski school, and just two ski turns to the lift.
Evening events include a snowshoe dinner, fat biking on snow, sleigh rides, talent shows, kids pool party and pizza nights, and winter survival skills camps. Parents will enjoy “chilling” in The Stoli Ice Bar with vodka tasting in an igloo room – Helly Hanson jacket are provided, very “cool”!
Downtown Fernie, just 10 minutes’ drive, is a bustling town, with cafes, ski shops, and museums along historic 2nd Ave, for shopping and dining with amazing views back at the ski slopes. This original mining town of Fernie, and the mountain resort, were named for coal miner in 1897. Fernie skiing began in 1950 by the Fernie Ski Club.
Your Fernie family ski trip could also include a ski safari to nearby Kimberley, along the famous Powder Highway connecting Kicking Horse and Revelstoke too, or to Banff Alberta’s skiing at Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay.
Fernie ski stats:
Summit Elevation: 7,000 ft
Vertical : 3,550 ft
Skiable Acres: 2,500+ acres
143 named runs plus 5 high alpine bowls and tree skiing
Longest Run: 3 mile Falling Star (our personal favorite
A Resort of the Canadian Rockies, and a Vail Epic Pass partner